Top 10 Nutritious Wild Plants You Can Eat

If you’re alone and hungry in the woods, far from a supermarket, knowing which wild plants you can eat can not only relieve your hunger but actually save your life.

The total number of edible plants is huge, and goes well beyond the wild blueberries that may come first to mind. Some wild plants you can eat are plants you’d never suspect.

Here’s a list of 10 of the more common wild edibles that can represent an important part of your emergency food supply:

#1: Dandelions

Wild plants you can eat

Yep, those nasty “weeds” that mess up your neatly groomed lawn every year are edible! In fact, nearly the entire plant (except for the stem) can be consumed in one way or another. The greens can be used in salads or chopped up as a replacement for chives on top of mashed or baked potatoes.

One cup of chopped dandelion leaves are rich in potassium, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Just make sure that any dandelion you pick for food has had no exposure to herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Other than that, enjoy!

#2: Pine Needles

Didn’t expect to see pine as one of the wild plants you can eat? Well, you no doubt know that pine trees are among the most populous trees in most of the U.S.

But did you know their needles can be used to brew delicious tea?

Just add some pine needles to boiling water to create a soothing, aromatic pine needle tea rich in vitamin C. Pine tea is also a popular choice for medicinal purposes, especially in treating or preventing diseases like scurvy.  

It has also been used as an expectorant for coughs and to help relive sore throats and chest congestion.

#3: Walnuts
Like pines, walnut trees are plentiful in many parts of the U.S. Walnuts are a powerful, calorie-dense food source, with about 618 calories in just 100 grams (3/4 cup).

As a favorite among wild plants you can eat, walnuts are high in fat and protein and can be an invaluable food source for you in a survivalist situation. They store well, they’re delicious to eat, and they’re plentiful.

#4: Blackberries
Wild blackberries are chock full of important nutrients, low in calories, and can help build your immune system. A single cup of fresh blackberries can provide 30 mg of vitamin C, which is over 30% of the Recommended Daily Average.

As blackberries ripen, they turn from green balls to pinkish or green clusters of balls. As they further age, they turn black and sometimes red. Look for these berries along fence lines or ditches, in wooded areas or along overgrown meadows or sunny roadways.

#5: Asparagus

Wild asparagus is another nutrient-dense edible that can be added to your food pantry in an emergency. It contains vitamin C, potassium, calcium and fiber.

The plant can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, baked or fried, and is usually located in full sun areas in or near tall grasses. While widely available, it is most commonly found in these U.S. counties.

#6: Gooseberries
Gooseberries have nothing to do with geese, but they have a lot to do with flavor! These tart, slightly grape-flavored berries grow in many areas of the U.S.

At one time banned as a host plant for tree-infecting diseases, the fruit has made a comeback among preppers who use them for jams, pies and crumbles.

Branches on the gooseberry plant are grey and have long red thorns and leaves similar to maple leaves. The berries tend to ripen in early June.

#7: Daylily
Daylily has bright orange flowers on a leafless stem. You can eat them whole cooked or add them to salads for a delightfully different taste.

Virtually all parts of the plant are edible: flowers, flower buds, young stalks and root tubers. Many say the cooked buds taste a bit like radishes with a trace of green bean. Give them a try and let us know what you think!

#8: Elderberries

Harvested from July to September, elderberry plants yield berries are known for their medicinal characteristics and taste. Elderberry shrubs are frequently found growing wild in disturbed areas along roadsides, hedgerows and in recently burned areas.

Many homesteaders and preppers make elderberry jelly from this sweet and beneficial plant.

#9: Pecans
Wild pecans can be found in the lowlands of the deep South, but you can also find them in river bottoms as far north as Illinois. Pecans have been popular for centuries, from the earliest Spanish explorers to Thomas Jefferson’s orchard at Monticello, to pecan groves cultivated all across the southern U.S.

Smaller than cultivated pecans but easier to remove from the shells, wild pecans grow best in hot and humid conditions. They store well, and are a popular snack or addition to all kinds of salads and dishes.

#10: Acorns
For many people, acorns are simply a wild nut they accidentally crush when hiking through a wooded area with lots of oak trees. But in reality, they are an important survival food source and medicinal aid.

If the nut tastes bitter at first, soak them in water to bleach out the tannic acid. Once they are properly leached, you can grind them into flour for various recipes like bread or almost any other baked good.  

Some people even make acorn coffee!

Another way to eat acorns is to roast them. Then you can eat them out of hand just like peanuts.

Fun fact: a single oak tree can drop 10,000 acorns in a good year.

The Planet is Full of Wild Plants You Can Eat

This article barely scratches the surface of all the common edible wild plants provided by nature. If you’re looking to secure the food supplies of your family, it pays to dig into this subject even more.

Here’s an Amazon book on wild plants you can eat. You may want to check it

out for great ideas.

Remember: the more you know about nature’s bounty, the better prepared you will be in an emergency.

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